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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

Desert Delirium

A crew stands on a dirt road in the desert with a bright blue sky and sagebrush behind him.

We have spent the last 9 days in the unforgiving sagebrush desert of Oakley, Idaho. Working for the BLM stationed there, we were instructed to grid a large plot of sagebrush and remove the junipers that are taking over the landscape. Armed with loppers, handsaws, and a chainsaw, we worked in the scorching heat taking down juniper upon juniper.

Days often reached over 100°F and we found refuge in knowing that at the end of the day, we would get a cold treat from Farmer’s Corner (the local gas station) and refill our water in the community park. To beat the heat, we started an hour early every day meaning that our breakfasts were at 5 am under the stars. The heat of the day, the lack of air conditioning in our rig, and the hot nights and early starts led the group to become increasingly delirious as the hitch progressed.

We also saw a myriad of wildlife, including a horny toad lizard, a bull snake in our camp, a skink, hares, and a vole who would make a daily appearance at breakfast. We also all came up with little songs about rattlesnakes (in hopes of summoning one) to make the days pass. Our favorite one is as follows:

Junipers peeking from the shadows
Some standing tall, some low, others below as some bellow as we use the handsaws
Back and forth we go
Had to watch em junipers behind us teaming up from the cactus
Them being cowards, hiding in the sagebrush
We didn't see a snake
Till we rattled you junipers out, there was no way ya could merit an escape

Disclaimer: There were no rattlesnakes spotted on this hitch; a devastating lack of discovery.